Health | Opinion

Kathleen Sebelius: More opportunities for Indian Health Service

"This Administration believes that everyone should have the opportunity to achieve their full potential, no matter whom they are or where they live. For too long, tribal nations have not gotten the support they need to fulfill that promise, especially in the face of high unemployment, energy costs, suicide, chronic disease, and federal resources stretched thin. But over the last three years, we’ve worked together with Indian country to change that.

First, we’ve started to target resources where they have been lacking. That began with the Recovery Act—one of the biggest investments in Indian country in our history. It included $500 million for the Indian Health Service—vital funds that went toward health care clinics like the new Cheyenne River Health Center.

This wasn’t just a one-time boost either. Since 2008, IHS has seen its total budget increase 29 percent. At a time of an overall federal budget freeze, these increases show this Administration’s continued commitment to improving the quality of and access to health care for Indian Country.

Nowhere is that more clear than in the impact these funds have had on IHS Contract Health Services. In the past, only the highest priority referrals were paid for. With limited funds and rising costs, a lot of people were forced to wait or put off the care that they needed."

Get the Story:
Kathleen Sebelius: Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services Sees More Opportunity in Indian Country (Indian Country Today 8/29)

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